Chanced across this knockout (and heretofore unseen by me) promo clip of The Beatles doing "Help" on the same day I came across a wonderful interview with director Richard Lester on the making of the film (in the current issue of MoJo).
Lots of interesting tidbits in the piece. Perhaps my favorite is this one:
All of them [the Beatles] had this love-hate relationship with the American DJ, Murray the K, who was always pestering them. He came to the Bahamas when they were filming the fight on the beach, which appears at the end of the film, and he begged to be in it. So we dressed him up and put him in it, and the boys just made a beeline for him and practically kicked him to death."
There's also a fascinating insight into John Lennon's creative process vis a vis the title song.
We wanted to call the film Help early on. The problem was someone else had already registered the name. Shit! So we considered some other titles [High-Heeled Knickers, Who's Been Sleeping in My Porridge, and the all-too-apt The Day the Clowns Collapsed were all suggestions]. Ringo came up with Eight Arms to Hold You, which no one was particularly enamored with, but no one had anything better. As it got closer to the wire, the Beatles were looking at each other, saying "Who's going to write this awful-sounding song?"
Finally, we went back to the lawyers....and they said "Well, does your 'Help' have an exclamation point?" We said, "no, but do you want one?" They said, "If it has one, it's a different title."
This is literally three days before we had to shoot the opening scene to playback. John started writing straight away -- in the studio in the afternoon, in the car, overnight in Weybridge. Then the next morning they played it to me on the piano. They recorded it that day, and the next day we started filming the sequence... It's ironic that John ended up saying [in a Playboy interview] that it was the first genuinely personal song that he had written. Odd for a song written to order in 24 hours, but maybe it isn't so strange. He had no time to "craft" it. It just came staight through, channeling his innermost feelings."
Pretty cool, huh?
Meanwhile -- I love the clip, especially when the snow starts falling on the boys. Anybody ever seen it before? I know it's not in Anthology....